Four weeks to design;eight days to build

Zen on a Dime (A practitioner for Hire)

No project too small.

I will for a nominal fee do your bidding by cleaning, rearranging by simply bringing order to any giving environment.

It’s a misunderstanding that you have to spend money to transform any aspect of a given thing; may it be your garage or an abandoned flower bed; what it needs is you in action attending to whats been neglected.

But these days time is money.  This is where I come in; my cue:

I take pride in making something beautiful and more often than not it’s not a matter of adding-to but of taking-away and rearrange what is.

I offer my services Zen on  a Dime when I am in-between my outdoor wood projects, such as designing and building decks, pergolas and custom fences.

I can garden, I can home organize, I can do about anything that needs an attentive eye towards making something beautiful. Call today, and I will find time between projects to bring order to what needs to be done around your home: 904-303-1548



Working from a place where you don’t know the outcome, but by an intuitive process you find where you might begin; you start eliminating, reducing your chosen area down to its particulars. I call this aspect of my work: zen on a dime; where you don’t have to spend money to bring about some semblance of beauty.




I have hundreds of such projects, those hidden gems that required no money, just time so that they could devolve their hidden beauty. Around my home, they abound; they are my way to sustain a creative flow. People think you have to spend money to make something beautiful; I believe you just have to cultivate your own sense of what is beautiful. Maybe it began for me when I read years ago that we should take one part of our yard and make it a secret garden, a place where you can call your own.








Touching nature


This morning on my bike ride through the Hanna Park trails this tree had an appeal. It had grown at a slant. I came to a body of water.

Bending down, I positioned my hand to feel.


When I have down time between design projects I go into nature.

At first, the mind resists very much like when I sit to meditate; it offers up many reasons I could be elsewhere. But to persist is to find a new way of sitting still with what is: what is the sound of the wind, or the back and forth of bird call? Silly, or just the sound of breathing in and breathing out.


Living Wabi Sabi


As is my habit when in between wood projects, I drove Michelangelo to school; today we stopped at Hanna Park to see the ocean, then we went to the lake where I  stopped the truck and walk out on the dock.

I was spell bound, mesmerize by the beauty of something built long ago and marveled at the thought that theses timbers were milled and that a carpenter had selected them and had built this dock.



Wabi sabi, this japanese aesthetic idea that there is beauty in decay, in imperfection, is a lenses in which one looks a life differently; whereas before being introduced to this idea, I was blind to another aspect of life.

Part of me feels a sadness at seeing this dock because I know in time it will be replaced, but that is its enduring beauty: the very fact that it is fleeting, but its beauty goes deeper, the choices that were made would be hard to replicate. Who would pay for fresh milled 2x8s and use nails?





To Build A Gate


To build a gate, you begin with a frame that conforms to your gate opening. In the beginning, that idea was pretty straight forward. But over the years, what at first was a playful gesture began to become a medium for expression. Now, when I build a gate, it draws me into what is possible.


But the idea to build anything starts out with conventional notions; we have to have a starting point. My wife says I am being creative; I say we all have a creative spark, but what I do is try to work with principles like inside/outside; forward/backward; openings and mass.

My biggest influence comes from classical architecture: the post and beam set with a pediment. It seems everything I design/build has its roots however far removed from the source in Michelangelo’s architectural works. He came late to the Renaissance, by the time of his arrival, the re-birth and the reusing of ancient Greek and Roman building styles was the norm. It was not in his nature to design/build like them, he had to put his signature on it; everything he touched became Michelangeloesque. James Ackerman wrote that Michelangelo’s approach to architecture appears as a radical departure from Renaissance tradition,  that by thinking of buildings as organisms, he changed the concept of architectural design from the static one produced by a system of predetermined proportions to a dynamic one in which members would be integrated by the suggestion of muscular power.


These past few weeks, having had multiple opportunities to give expression to a gate frame is maybe more grounded in jazz music wherein they begin with classical note progressions than riff off into their on muical tangents.









The Discovery Of Slowness


Working with Cumaru, a Brazilian hardwood, has be one of the more satisfying challenges for 2018.

The client elected to go with a herringbone pattern, an arrangment of diagonal decking boards that will meet in the center of the deck.

In the time it took us to build the subframing and to apply the fascia and the picture frame, we could have built two coventional presure treated pine decks.






Pollinators need not be excluded


During my visit to the zoo, I veered towards the butterfly gardens and enter upon an area roofed with a clear fabric mesh. I noticed that swaths of butterflies were stationed in winged clusters flapping against the fabric. And I thought, monarchs are migratory, but here their travels have ended. Then I noticed the absence of bees. In my garden they are a constant.

Should the zoo be petitioned to open its butterfly garden to all and sundry, make it an open air market for pollinators and free ranging butterflies?

Floating Deck



This deck design came about through the desire of the client wanting something unique.

We went back and forth until they decided on this design which changed as we built it; we added the double headers on both side of the post and made the path 4′.

And we used yellow wood to offer contrast.

I call it the floating deck because the deck goes outside the post and gives the idea that the deck is floating.